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Cumner's Son and Other South Sea Folk — Volume 04

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The Project Gutenberg EBook Cumner & South Sea Folk, by G. Parker, v4 #26 in our series by Gilbert Parker Contents:A Sable Spartan A Vulgar Fraction How Pango Wango Was Annexed An Amiable Revenge The Blind Beggar And TheLittle Red Peg A Friend Of The CommuneCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloadingor redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do notchange or edit the header without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom of thisfile. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. You can alsofind out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****EBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These EBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers*****Title: Cumner & South Sea Folk, v4Author: Gilbert ParkerRelease Date: July, 2004 [Etext #6198][Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule][This file was first posted on September 19, 2002]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK CUMNER & SOUTH SEA FOLK, v4 ***This eBook was produced by David Widger [widger@cecomet ...

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The Project Gutenberg EBook Cumner & South
Sea Folk, by G. Parker, v4 #26 in our series by
Gilbert Parker Contents: A Sable Spartan A Vulgar
Fraction How Pango Wango Was Annexed An
Amiable Revenge The Blind Beggar And The Little
Red Peg A Friend Of The Commune

sCuorpey triog chth leacwk st haer ec ocphyarniggihnt gl aawll so fvoerr ytohuer wcooruldn.t rBye
before downloading or redistributing this or any
other Project Gutenberg eBook.

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remove it. Do not change or edit the header
without written permission.

Please read the "legal small print," and other
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Gutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included is
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**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla
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*C*oEmBpouotkesr sR, eSaidncaeb le1 9B7y1 *B*oth Humans and By

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Title: Cumner & South Sea Folk, v4

Author: Gilbert Parker

[RYeelse,a swee Darate e:m Jourley ,t h2a0n0 4o n[Ee tyeexta r# 6a1h9e8a]d of
schedule]
[This file was first posted on September 19, 2002]

Edition: 10

Language: English

*E*B* OSTOAK RCT UOMFN TEHR E& PSROOUJTEHC TS EGAU TFEONLBK,E vR4G ***

This eBook was produced by David Widger
[widger@cecomet.net]

CUMNER'S SON AND

OTHER SOUTH SEA
KLOF

by Gilbert Parker

Volume 4.

A SABLE SPARTAN A VULGAR FRACTION
HOW PANGO WANGO WAS ANNEXED AN
AMIABLE REVENGE THE BLIND BEGGAR AND
THE LITTLE RED PEG A FRIEND OF THE
COMMUNE

A SABLE SPARTAN

Lady Tynemouth was interested; his Excellency
was amused. The interest was real, the
amusement was not ironical. Blithelygo, seeing that
he had at least excited the attention of the
luncheon party, said half- apologetically: "Of course
my experience is small, but in many parts of the
world I have been surprised to see how uniform
revolutionises the savage. Put him into Convention,
that is clothes, give him Responsibility, that is a
chance to exercise vanity and power, and you
make him a Britisher—a good citizen to all intents
and purposes."

Blithelygo was a clever fellow in his way. He had a
decided instinct for military matters, and for good
cigars and pretty women. Yet he would rather give
up both than an idea which had got firmly fixed in
his mind. He was very deferential in his remarks,
but at the same time he was quite willing to go into
a minority which might not include pretty Miss
Angel who sat beside him, if he was not met by
conclusive good arguments.

In the slight pause which followed his rather long
speech, his Excellency passed the champagne
cup, and Lady Tynemouth said: "But I suppose it
depends somewhat on the race, doesn't it, Mr.
Travers? I am afraid mere uniforming would
scarcely work successfully—among the Bengalese,
for instance."

"A wretched crew," said Major Warham; "awful
liars, awful scoundrels, need kicking every
morning."

"Of course," said Blithelygo, "there must be some
consideration of race. But look at the Indian
Mutiny. Though there was revolt, look at those who
'fought with us faithful and few'; look at the fidelity
of the majority of the native servants. Look at the
native mounted police in Australia; at the Sikhs in
the Settlements and the Native States; at the
Indian scouts of the United States and Canada;
and look at these very Indian troops at your door,
your Excellency! I think my principle holds good;
give uniform, give responsibility—under European
surveillance of course—get British civilisation."

His Excellency's eyes had been wandering out of
the window, over the white wall and into the town
where Arabia, India, Africa, the Islands of the
South and Palestine were blended in a quivering,
radiant panorama. Then they rose until they fell
upon Jebel Shamsan, in its intoxicating red and
opal far away, and upon the frowning and mighty
rampart that makes Aden one of the most
impregnable stations of the Empire. The
amusement in his eyes had died away; and as he
dipped his fingers in the water at his side and
motioned for a quickening of the punkahs, he said:
"There is force in what you say. It would be an
unpleasant look-out for us here and in many parts
of the world if we could not place reliance on the
effect of uniform; but"—and the amused look came
again to his eyes— "we somehow get dulled to the

virtues of Indian troops and Somauli policemen.
We can't get perspective, you see."

Blithelygo good-naturedly joined in the laugh that
went round the table; for nearly all there had
personal experience of "uniformed savages." As
the ladies rose Miss Angel said naively to
Blithelygo: "You ought to spend a month in Aden,
Mr. Blithelygo. Don't go by the next boat, then you
can study uniforms here."

We settled down to our cigars. Major Warham was
an officer from Bombay. He had lived in India for
twenty years: long enough to be cynical of justice
at the Horse Guards or at the India Office: to
become in fact bitter against London, S.W.,
altogether. It was he that proposed a walk through
the town.

The city lay sleepy and listless beneath a proud
and distant sky of changeless blue. Idly sat the
Arabs on the benches outside the low- roofed
coffee-houses; lazily worked the makers of
ornaments in the bazaars; yawningly pounded the
tinkers; greedily ate the children; the city was
cloyed with ease. Warham, Blithelygo and myself
sat in the evening sun surrounded by gold-and-
scarlet bedizened gentry of the desert, and drank
strong coffee and smoked until we too were
satisfied, if not surfeited; animals like the rest.
Silence fell on us. This was a new life to two of us;
to Warham it was familiar, therefore comfortable
and soporific. I leaned back and languidly scanned
the scene; eyes halfshut, senses half-awake. An

Arab sheikh passed swiftly with his curtained
harem; and then went filing by in orderly and bright
array a number of Mahommedans, the first of
them bearing on a cushion of red velvet, and
covered with a cloth of scarlet and gold, a dead
child to burial. Down from the colossal tanks built in
the mountain gorges that were old when Mahomet
was young, there came donkeys bearing great
leathern bottles such as the Israelites carried in
their forty years' sojourning. A long line of swaying
camels passed dustily to the desert that burns
even into this city of Aden, built on a volcano;
groups of Somaulis, lithe and brawny, moved
chattering here and there; and a handful of
wandering horsemen, with spears and snowy
garments, were being swallowed up in the
mountain defiles.

The day had been long, the coffee and cigarettes
had been heavy, and we dozed away in the
sensuous atmosphere. Then there came, as if in a
dream, a harsh and far-off murmur of voices. It
grew from a murmur to a sharp cry, and from a
sharp cry to a roar of rage. In a moment we were
on our feet, and dashing away toward the sound.

The sight that greeted us was a strange one, and
horribly picturesque. In front of a low-roofed house
of stone was a crowd of Mahommedans fierce with
anger and loud in imprecation. Knives were
flashing; murder was afoot. There stood, with his
back to the door of the house, a Somauli
policeman, defending himself against this raging
little mob. Not defending himself alone. Within the

dheofuilseed hae Mhaahd othmrmuset daa nw rmetocshqeude ;J aenwd, hweh ow haas dhere
protecting him against these nervous champions of
the faith.

Once, twice, thrice, they reached him; but he
fought on with his unwounded arm. We were
unarmed and helpless; no Somaulis were near.
Death glittered in these white blades. But must this
Spartan die?

Now there was another cry, a British cheer, a
gleam of blue and red, a glint of steel rounding the
corner at our left, and the Mahommedans broke
away, with a parting lunge at the Somauli. British
soldiers took the place of the bloodthirsty mob.

Danger over, the Somauli sank down on the
threshold, fainting from loss of blood. As we looked
at him gashed all over, but not mortally wounded,
Blithelygo said with glowing triumph: "British,
British, you see!"

At that moment the door of the house opened, and
out crawled to the feet of the officer in command
the miserable Israelite with his red hemmed skirt
and greasy face. For this cowardly creature the
Somauli policeman had perilled his life. Sublime!
How could we help thinking of the talk at his
Excellency's table?

Suddenly the Somauli started up and looked round
anxiously. His eyes fell on the Jew. His
countenance grew peaceful. He sank back again
into the arms of the surgeon and said, pointing to

tinhteo sthoen aorf mAsb roaf htahme :s "uHrge eoown ea nmde sfaoird ,a pdooinntkinegy. t"o

Major Warham looking at Blithelygo said with a
chilled kind of lustre to his voice: "British, so British,
don't you know!"

A VULGAR FRACTION

Sometimes when, like Mirza, I retire to my little Hill
of Bagdad for meditation, there comes before me
the bright picture of Hawaii with its coral-bulwarked
islands and the memory of an idle sojourn on their
shores. I remember the rainbow-coloured harbour
of Honolulu Hilo, the simply joyous Arcadie at the
foot of Mauna Loa, and Mauna Kea which lifted
violet shoulders to the morning, the groves of
cocoa-palms and tamarinds, the waterfalls
dropping over sheer precipices a thousand feet into
the ocean, the green embrasures where the
mango, the guava, and the lovi lovi grow, and
where the hibiscus lifts red hands to the light. I call
to mind the luau where Kalakua, the King, presided
over the dispensation of stewed puppy, lifted to